Disney joining Hulu?


According to PaidContent.org and the LA Times, Disney is negotiating with News Corp. and NBCU to take an equity stake in Hulu.com, the fast-growing website where users can watch movies and TV episodes for free. In exchange, Disney would provide episodes of ABC shows to Hulu. Content from ESPN, Disney Channel and ABC Family may get in as well.

“The discussions, which heated up in recent weeks, represent an evolution of ABC’s Web strategy, which had focused on drawing viewers to the network’s own site,” said the LA Times article. “Disney appears to have decided that the power of the ABC and Disney names is not strong enough for the company to compete and that it needs broader distribution for its shows.”

Hulu’s audience has exploded. The site attracted 34.7 million viewers in February — slightly more people than those watching an episode of Fox’s “American Idol,” according to ComScore Video Metrix. The number of Hulu video viewers jumped 42% in February, according to ComScore.

Disney would receive a stake in the joint venture on par with Fox and NBC — likely 30% for each network, said the stories.